What has medical research found out about the risks and benefits of hormone use after menopause?
The most comprehensive evidence about the risks and benefits of taking hormones after menopause to prevent disease comes from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Hormone Program, which was sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), parts of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This research program examined the effects of menopausal hormones on women’s health. The WHI Hormone Program involved two studies—the use of estrogen plus progestin for women with a uterus (the Estrogen-plus-Progestin Study), and the use of estrogen alone for women without a uterus (the Estrogen-Alone Study). In both hormone therapy studies, women were randomly assigned to receive either the hormone medication being studied or the placebo. The WHI Estrogen-plus-Progestin Study was stopped in July 2002, when investigators reported that the overall risks of estrogen plus progestin, specifically Prempro™, outweighed the benefits (1). The researcher